Tapping performance and underlying wrist muscle activity of non-drummers, drummers, and the world's fastest drummer

Laboratory of Human Motor Control, Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies, Kyoto University, Yoshida-nihonmatsu-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan.
Neuroscience Letters (Impact Factor: 2.03). 06/2009; 459(2):69-73. DOI: 10.1016/j.neulet.2009.04.055
Source: PubMed


Studies of rapid unimanual tapping have assumed that the human rate limit for voluntary rhythmic movement is 5-7 Hz, which corresponds to an inter-tap interval (ITI) of 150-200ms. In fact, the winner of a recent contest to find the world's fastest drummer (WFD) can perform such movements using a handheld drumstick at 10 Hz, which corresponds to an ITI of 100 ms. Because the contest measured only the number of taps by the WFD, we examined the stability of the ITI and the underlying wrist muscle activity of the WFD. By comparing the performance and wrist muscle activity of the WFD with those of two control groups (non-drummers (NDs) and ordinary skilled drummers (ODs)), we found that the WFD had a relatively stable ITI and more pronounced reciprocal wrist muscle activity during the 10-Hz performance. Our result indicates that very fast, stable tapping performance can be achieved by keeping the wrist joint compliant rather than stiff.

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Available from: Kazutoshi Kudo, Oct 06, 2015
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    • "Training dependent neuroplasticity would also yield different organization of arm movements when comparing pianists, violinists, and cellists (Furuya and Kinoshita, 2007; Konczak et al., 2009; Verrel et al., 2013). By contrast, efficient muscular force production observed for both pianists and drummers (Fujii et al., 2009; Fujii and Moritani, 2012a,b) rather strengthens the idea that prolonged repetitive motions elicit neuroplastic changes that economize movements. Finally, to elaborate the understanding of control principles behind complex motor behaviors in piano playing, a computational approach that compares prediction of modeling with observed movements would be necessary (Kawato, 1999; Shadmehr and Krakauer, 2008; Kalveram and Seyfarth, 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Piano performance involves a large repertoire of highly skilled movements. The acquisition of these exceptional skills despite innate neural and biomechanical constraints requires a sophisticated interaction between plasticity of the neural system and organization of a redundant number of degrees of freedom (DOF) in the motor system. Neuroplasticity subserving virtuosity of pianists has been documented in neuroimaging studies investigating effects of long-term piano training on structure and function of the cortical and subcortical regions. By contrast, recent behavioral studies have advanced the understanding of neuromuscular strategies and biomechanical principles behind the movement organization that enables skilled piano performance. Here we review the motor control and biomechanics literature, introducing the importance of describing motor behaviors not only for understanding mechanisms responsible for skillful motor actions in piano playing, but also for advancing diagnosis and rehabilitation of movement disorders caused by extensive piano practice.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 07/2013; 7:173. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2013.00173 · 2.99 Impact Factor
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    • "Studying musical performance therefore provides a good opportunity to probe into how the nervous system skillfully orchestrates a redundant number of degrees of freedom (DOFs) of the motor system to achieve artistic musical expression. Previous studies have extensively investigated repetitive hand movements during musical performance or more simplified tasks (Parlitz et al., 1998; Aoki et al., 2005; Goebl and Palmer, 2008; Fujii et al., 2009a,b; Loehr and Palmer, 2009; Palmer et al., 2009; Furuya and Soechting, 2010). Some of these studies have delineated differences in the characteristics of force exerted by digits (Parlitz et al., 1998; Aoki et al., 2005) and in the activities of extrinsic finger muscles (Fujii et al., 2009a,b) between musicians and non-musicians. "
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    ABSTRACT: Musical performance requires motor skills to coordinate the movements of multiple joints in the hand and arm over a wide range of tempi. However, it is unclear whether the coordination of movement across joints would differ for musicians with different skill levels and how inter-joint coordination would vary in relation to music tempo. The present study addresses these issues by examining the kinematics and muscular activity of the hand and arm movements of professional and amateur pianists who strike two keys alternately with the thumb and little finger at various tempi. The professionals produced a smaller flexion velocity at the thumb and little finger and greater elbow pronation and supination velocity than did the amateurs. The experts also showed smaller extension angles at the metacarpo-phalangeal joint of the index and middle fingers, which were not being used to strike the keys. Furthermore, muscular activity in the extrinsic finger muscles was smaller for the experts than for the amateurs. These findings indicate that pianists with superior skill reduce the finger muscle load during keystrokes by taking advantage of differences in proximal joint motion and hand postural configuration. With an increase in tempo, the experts showed larger and smaller increases in elbow velocity and finger muscle co-activation, respectively, compared to the amateurs, highlighting skill level-dependent differences in movement strategies for tempo adjustment. Finally, when striking as fast as possible, individual differences in the striking tempo among players were explained by their elbow velocities but not by their digit velocities. These findings suggest that pianists who are capable of faster keystrokes benefit more from proximal joint motion than do pianists who are not capable of faster keystrokes. The distinct movement strategy for tempo adjustment in pianists with superior skill would therefore ensure a wider range of musical expression.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 05/2011; 5:50. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2011.00050 · 2.99 Impact Factor
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    • "Appropriate temporal separation between agonist and antagonist activation of muscles has been observed for well-controlled voluntary movements (Fujii et al., 2009). In clinical situations, however, this separation is attenuated, muscle coactivation is increased, and motor control becomes poor (Dierick et al., 2002). "
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to clarify the difference in muscle coactivation during postural control between older and young adults and to identify the characteristics of postural control strategies in older adults by investigating the relationship between muscle coactivation and postural control ability. Forty-six healthy older adults (82.0±7.5 years) and 34 healthy young adults (22.1±2.3 years) participated. The postural tasks selected consisted of static standing, functional reach, functional stability boundary and gait. Coactivation of the ankle joint was recorded during each task via electromyography (EMG). The older adults showed significantly higher coactivation than the young adults during the tasks of standing, functional reach, functional stability boundary (forward), and gait (p<0.01). Postural sway area (ρ=0.42, p<0.05) and functional reach distance (ρ=-0.52, p<0.05) significantly correlated with coactivation during the corresponding task in older adults, i.e., muscle coactivation was significantly higher in the elderly with low postural control ability than in the elderly with high balance ability. Increased muscle coactivation could be a necessary change to compensate for a deterioration in postural control accompanying healthy aging. Further research is needed to clarify in greater detail positive and negative effects of muscle coactivation on postural control.
    Archives of gerontology and geriatrics 02/2011; 53(3):338-43. DOI:10.1016/j.archger.2011.01.003 · 1.85 Impact Factor
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